Sunday, January 29, 2012

Slow-Cooker Steak and Guinness Pie

Special thanks to Tessa and her Handle the Heat blog for turning me on to this great recipe.

Slow-Cooker Steak & Guinness Pie
Serves 4
From Fine Cooking March 2011

  • 1/4 cup flour, plus more for rolling
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds boneless beef chuck, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 large carrots, cut into 1/4-inch thick rounds
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 large russet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 12-ounce bottle Guinness (or other stout)
  • 1 cup low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed overnight in refrigerator 
In a large bowl or zip-top bag, combine flour, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper.Toss the beef in the flour mixture to coat. Transfer mixture (including flour) to a 6-quart slow cooker. Add carrots, onion, potatoes, garlic, and thyme. Slowly pour in the Guinness and then stir in the beef broth. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. On a lightly floured work surface, roll puff pastry sheet into a 10x14-inch rectangle. Put on prepared baking sheet and bake 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven, let cool slightly, and cut into quarters. Serve with stew.

I made just a couple of changes to the recipe. I substituted home-brewed stout in place of the Guinness and I made crescent rolls instead of the puff pastry. The whole family loved it including my youngest whose tastes lean towards hot dogs and frozen pizza. I'll definitely be making this again.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Now Pouring: Tommyknocker Brewery Hop Strike Black Rye IPA

Tommyknocker Brewery, Colorado
6.5% ABV
78 IBU
BeerAdvocate score: 87
RateBeer score: 94

I first ran across Hop Strike on tap this past summer on a trip out east and was really impressed by it. I was pleased to find it this week at my local liquor store. If you're a hophead, this is worth a try.

As indicated by the name, it pours a deep, dark black with faint mahogany edges that are only noticeable when held to the light. It sports one finger dense beige head that dissipates over a few minutes to a thin layer of lace. At 78 IBUs, it's no surprise that you get a nose full of hops right off the bat. It's very piney with just a slight whiff of malt.

With all that hop smell, you'd think it might be an overpowering IPA but it is surprisingly well balanced. Of course you get the citrusy hops, but you also get sweet malt and rye. With a medium bodied mouthfeel and moderate carbonation, it's really a lot more drinkable than the name would lead you to believe.

As the beer warms, the hop flavor mellows making the malt and rye more predominant and you can begin to taste a little biscuit and caramel.

The icing on the cake for me is the unbelievable lacing this beer leaves behind. With each sip another ring of lace tracks your progress. I don't know if I've ever had another beer with this much sticky lace. It almost makes the beer fun.

All in all, this is an impressive brew. At 6.5% you can drink a couple without it going to your head. I'll give it an A- and I look forward to the remaining five I have in the fridge.

Thanks for stopping in!

From the draft I had this past summer.
Look at that lacing!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Welcome to the Double B

Grab a stool and let me tell you how things work around here.

I drink a lot of beer. Now don't confuse things because that doesn't mean I get drunk a lot. In fact, I can't remember the last time I really tied one on. I'm too old for that. No, what I mean is that I drink a lot of different brands and a lot of different styles of beer. I especially like craft beers. None of that light/lite 33ºF swill they try to pass of as beer at the gas station, I'm talking about a 40-60ºF brew with some body. I like to taste my beer. I want to smell the malt and the hops and taste the complex flavors that make each beer unique. I want to see the color and the size of the head and marvel at the lacing left in the glass. And, most importantly, when I'm finished I want to feel as if I've had a beer. If I can get the same feeling from a glass of water then I may as well be drinking water.

So here at the Double B we're going to talk about beer. I'm going to post reviews and pictures of the new beers I drink, I'm going to talk about the beers I brew (my profile pic will always be my latest homebrew; right now it's a delicious milk stout that I brewed back in early December), and I'm going to post recipes for the beers I cook with. Like I said, I like beer.

So if you're like me and you're into all things beer, you're always welcome at the Double B. I got two new sixes chilling in the bar fridge and a honey weizen in the fermenter so come back soon and see what's on tap.

Drink 'em if you got 'em!